What Kind Of Injuries Can Happen In A Car Accident?

Injuries that can happen in a car accident

If you live or work in New York City, no one needs to tell you that our streets and highways are crowded at all hours of the day and night. Consequently, you have a high risk of becoming involved in a traffic accident that could leave you with serious injuries any time you take to the streets. In fact, between Jan. 2022 and Sept. 2023, 5,110 people sustained serious injuries in a car crash.

New York City Traffic Injury Statistics

Expanding on the above figure, as well as relying on additional up-to-date information, reveals the following:

  • One in three New Yorkers becomes injured in a traffic accident.
  • For every New Yorker killed in a crash, 11 others are severely injured.
  • Brooklyn accounts for 33% of citywide motor vehicle collisions.
  • Queens ranks second with 28%.
  • The Bronx ranks third with 18%.
  • Manhattan ranks fourth with 17%.
  • Staten Island ranks fifth with 5%.

In 2022 alone, 100,508 car accidents occurred citywide. Of these, 37,848 involved an injury or fatality.

As you might expect, distracted driving represents the number one cause of NYC traffic accidents, followed by alcohol consumption and speeding.

Serious Injury Defined

New York law defines a serious injury as “any traffic crash-related injuries resulting in dismemberment, significant disfigurement, bone fracture, the loss of a fetus, as well as the permanent loss of use of a body part, organ, or function, the significant limitation of a body function, and any injury which prevents a person from performing most of their customary daily activities for 90 days or more.”

Serious Injury Examples

Obviously, the legal definition of what constitutes a serious injury in New York covers a lot of territory. The specific examples that follow can make this concept easier to understand.

Spinal Cord Injury

A spinal cord injury is one that occurs to your neck or back during a car accident. This is where your spinal cord, the information highway between your brain and the rest of your body, is located. If this vital link is damaged or severed, the result is a severe disability that could affect you for the rest of your life.

If your SCI occurs in your lower back, you likely will become paraplegic, meaning that you will have little or no ability to voluntarily move, feel or control your hips, legs or feet. In other words, you will need to use a wheelchair to get from place to place. In addition, you likely will be unable to control your urination and defecation functions.

If your SCI occurs in your neck or upper back, your prognosis is even poorer. Here you likely will become quadriplegic, with little or no ability to voluntarily move, feel or control not only your hips, legs and feet, but also your arms and hands. In other words, you will need to rely on someone else to provide you with virtually 24-hour-a-day care, starting with getting you from your bed to your wheelchair in the mornings. Then your caregiver will need to bathe you, brush your teeth and hair, remove the waste from your body, dress you and feed you.

Traumatic Brain Injury

A traumatic brain injury is a severe blow to your head that causes your brain to “slosh around” inside your skull, injuring itself in the process. It can also be caused by a penetrating injury to your brain, such as by flying glass or debris during your accident.

A TBI can have any number of serious consequences, including the following:

  • Severe vision loss, up to and including complete blindness
  • Severe hearing loss, up to and including complete deafness
  • Speech dysfunction
  • Cognitive dysfunction
  • Epilepsy

In addition, you may exhibit decreased ability to control your emotions, particularly anger, frustration and sadness.

Crush Injury

A crush injury occurs when some part of your body, usually an arm or a leg, becomes trapped between two of your vehicle’s hard surfaces during your accident. If the pressure is strong enough or lasts long enough, this could damage your affected limb sufficiently to require its amputation.

Severe Burns

Unfortunately, receiving a severe burn during your car crash is a definite possibility since so many things, including the following, can cause one:

  • A hot liquid, such as spilled coffee
  • A caustic liquid, such as gasoline, antifreeze, transmission fluid or brake fluid
  • A live electrical wire, either inside your vehicle or dangling from an overhead power line
  • Flames from a fire erupting during your crash

Not only are burns some of the most painful types of injuries, but they also usually require months of treatment and healing in a hospital burn unit or rehabilitation facility. Even after healing, they almost always leave disfiguring scars.

Internal Injuries

As you might expect, your internal organs, especially your stomach, lungs, spleen and liver, are at great risk for sustaining injury during a car crash, either from the impact itself or from the seatbelt, airbag or other device intended to protect you. If one or more of your internal organs ruptures, the resulting internal bleeding could quickly become life-threatening.

Less Serious Injuries

You can also suffer numerous other injuries in a car crash that do not rise to the legal definition of “serious.” Nevertheless, these injuries can be quite painful and require major medical treatment. Examples include the following:

  • Broken, fractured or dislocated bones
  • Sprains
  • Strains
  • Whiplash

Other injuries are psychological in nature and may not exhibit themselves until well after your accident. Examples include:

  • Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, more commonly known as PTSD
  • Nightmares and other sleep disorders
  • Depression
  • Phantom limb pain if you had to undergo an amputation
  • Great difficulty adjusting to your new post-accident life and body

While these injuries can be more difficult to diagnose and treat than physical injuries, they are no less real and painful and can linger for months or even years, thus diminishing your quality of life.

When to Hire a Lawyer

Now that you know your risk of becoming involved in a New York City car crash and sustaining dire injuries in it, your next question likely is: “How will I ever be able to pay my medical and other bills while I’m out of work and laid up in the hospital?” That’s where Cellino Law comes in.

We are a pre-eminent personal injury law firm with offices throughout the state of New York, including in the heart of Manhattan. Our dedicated attorneys have years of experience handling all types of personal injury claims, from auto accidents to slips and falls to medical malpractice. Because personal injury law is the only type of law we practice, we know all the ins and outs of negotiating with insurance companies on behalf of our injured clients and, if necessary, conducting jury trials to get them the compensation they deserve. We’re here to help you, too.

Be assured that you are never just a number at Cellino Law. While we are proud of our size and our strength, we are even more proud of our reputation for exceptional client service. Not only do we offer you a free initial consultation, we also stand beside you throughout every step of your case, always keeping you updated on its status and progress.

We urge you to contact Cellino Law today, either by phone or by filling out and submitting our convenient online contact form. You’ll be glad you did!



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